Embattled by an uncertain future, Gabriel Adam is now slowly succumbing to the powerful ring that he credits with stopping the demon sent to Earth to start the second war between the light and dark realms. As his health fails, his feelings grow for his archangel friend Micah. With the inevitability of his future ever nearer, he wonders if time is left to rekindle what they once shared.
But a darkness is growing in Istanbul. Lilith has used her alluring beauty to manipulate Simon Magus, the new Turkish president, into giving her great power. Wanting only to reunite with her one true love, she seeks to find seven ancient vials and pierce the veil that separates the dimensions, unleashing hell upon the Earth.
About the Author
S. L. Duncan writes Young Adult novels inspired by his travels around the world and the characters he’s met. He’s interested in finding those unique connections between stories and places, people and circumstance. When he’s not writing, S. L. Duncan plays guitar and soccer, loves to cook, and spends
Read an Excerpt
The Salvation of Gabriel Adam
By S. L. Duncan
Medallion Press, Inc.Copyright © 2015 S. L. Duncan
All rights reserved.
General Simon Magus stood on the balcony of the Turkish Parliament Building and looked upon the capital city of Ankara, surveying all that was now his to govern. In the distance, the Atakule Tower stood proudly above the rest of the skyline, resembling the microphone he had just used to give his victory speech.
Victory, he thought. The very notion seemed impossible. And yet, not an ounce of my countrymen's blood let. A reserved knock he recognized as from his assistant rapped at the door, and the soldier — no older than Magus had been when beginning his mandatory service — entered the temporary office.
"Mr. President?" the boy said as he pushed a few tentative steps into the room.
Being addressed by the new title Mr. President caused a constriction in Simon's chest as the anxiety already building from this new responsibility fought against a deep inhale. But the boy's high, youthful voice brought to mind the thousands of innocent lives that had been saved by today's aversion to war.
"The director of media relations is here, sir, requesting an audience."
"Thank you. Please send her in," Simon said, turning back to the view of the city.
In the Parliament gardens below, an enormous crowd of Turks next to soldiers and heavily armored tanks cheered their new leader, their joyous voices carrying through the open balcony. He was glad to have their support. Support crafted by meticulously controlling the way his message of peace had been presented to the world.
Not every coup d'etat is conducted in such a benign way.
Against the blue horizon, the Atakule Tower glimmered, reflecting the harsh light of the sun. Simon shielded his eyes as he looked at the spire, believing it to be a symbol of strength a modern, secular Turkey could demonstrate in a world drifting into chaos. The old government was wrong to fall back to archaic and stubborn tradition, to rule its people under the banner of a God that had abandoned them to their selfish ways so long ago.
A cloud moved in front of the sun, and the light softened.
Perhaps to the east this is acceptable, but not for my country. My people are far too intelligent to be kept slaves of the ancient agendas of fearful men.
At home, his political ideas were wildly popular, and abroad, his supporters within the Nations of the Western Alliance had become enamored with his Eurocentric philosophy, progressive ideas, and charismatic leadership. Had the people or the Western Alliance not been behind his push for regime change, none of this would have been possible.
The door to the office shut gently behind him. The air shifted in the room as he sensed another presence. Simon felt a rush, as if he were standing at the edge of a great height, and his body responded in the natural way: the cold of fear moving across his skin like frost on a leaf.
You are in danger, it seemed to say and he knew this to be true.
He calmed his nerves and looked through the window, the echoes of his people still calling out below.
"And who is to be thanked for their love and support?" asked a euphonic Eastern European voice. The beautifully manicured hands of a well-kept woman found Simon's chest from behind. They toyed with the medals on his military dress, spinning the stars on his collar like pinwheels. "Who is it that spared the lives of so many and brought forth peace?" His heart fluttered with excitement. Hormones and endorphins surged through his veins, causing him to blush. Knowing this reaction to be unnaturally induced helped his conscious mind keep from giving in to these feelings, but the struggle to maintain control was very real.
"You, Lilith," Simon admitted as he turned to meet steel-blue eyes that nicely matched her strong, set jaw and chiseled cheekbones framed in golden hair.
"So long as you don't forget it, my dear. I have given you what you desired most. War has been prevented. The lives of your countrymen ... spared. The nation ... yours to fulfill your noble ambitions of a greater good, and yet here you stand, staring into oblivion and pouting like a child. I wonder why I even bothered." She sighed, eying him and his uniform while pulling at a strand of her hair.
Simon felt as insignificant as an insect, caught in her scrutinizing gaze, powerless despite his broad stature.
"The boy general," she said, tsking him and shaking her head like he was a dress unfit for a party. "Outmatched by his wretched world. No wonder you needed me so. Nevertheless, it is time for compensation. Quid pro quo, my dear. Just as we agreed."
Her seductive allure, even in her contempt, was as inviting as her beauty, but Simon knew better. She kept her true nature hidden from the world, but he had seen it — as proof of what she had been able to offer. And as proof of what it would cost him.
But that was the bargain struck. The sacrifice made. Untold lives.
"The infrastructure needs to be secured here before we ..."
Lilith slapped him in the face, silencing his objection.
Simon barely flinched at the sudden aggression. He had become conditioned to her emotional instability, though he never underestimated the danger inherent in it.
Her eyes flashed with regret and, in that split second, Simon thought he recognized an expression of pain before it hardened to anger, as if she had lashed out at a lover or child.
"Do not challenge me. Do not dispute me," she whispered. "I choose to entertain your company only because I find it to be the mildest of amusements. You should pray that I do not soon bore of it."
Simon merely nodded. In the moments she threatened him or openly took stock of his value to her, he sensed he was somehow more important than she would have him believe. But even if her threats were idle, she was more than ingenuous about the harm she could cause Turkey and the people he held so dear. "As you wish. How am I to fulfill my obligation to you?"
"Move your armies and your government northwest. Take them across the Bosporus Strait to Constantine's city. You wish to establish your country as a western power? Then you must establish your commitment to European values. You will restore Istanbul to its prominence as a capital city. You will rule from Topkapi Palace, next to the Hagia Sophia. I will make it so there is no resistance to this plan. It will be celebrated. A return to the glory of Constantinople. And then, Mr. President, you will openly announce me as your new vice president."
"More power, Lilith? What is so significant about the European side of Istanbul that we should move an entire system of government? Even with a dissolved parliament the logistics of accomplishing such a drastic measure numb the mind."
"Fool. Impotent man," Lilith spat. "Do not presume you are so competent as to know my reasons for anything. If I grace you with an order, then you are to oblige. Nothing more. You of all people should appreciate that, General." Her gaze fell to the crowd below, and she seemed to quiet. "I am just as capable of removing you from power as I am of giving it to you. You know who I am. You know what I am."
"You are an angel of death."
Lilith smiled and took a step closer, her eyes as bright as ice. "Have I misjudged you, dear?" "No. It will be done. I will begin arrangements immediately."
Simon turned to leave the room.
"Wait," Lilith demanded, holding up her hand.
He stopped dead in his tracks and the world seemed to tilt. Lilith stood in front of him, her face inches from his own. Her gaze drew him in as a sense of comfort washed over him as if he were a child being rocked to sleep, his consciousness drifting peacefully away.
Simon's body suddenly seized, becoming rigid. Lilith watched his eyes roll back into his head. She was inside him now, searching for his soul. When she found it, she grimaced from its essence. It had been worn, reduced. More palatable than it had been when she had chosen this man. But there was more to be done. The vessel was not ready.
Not yet, she thought.
Simon's chest rose and fell in rapid succession. Lilith lowered him to the ground, easily maneuvering the two-hundred-pound bulk of his muscled frame.
While he lay there, she kneeled beside his body and placed her hands on his chest. Straining against her own power, she lifted her arms as if lifting something heavy off him. A spectral shape rose, resembling a ghostly duplicate of Simon. The vaporous energy rippled in the air, glowing, blue, green, and white — all but a small core in the center of the shape. There, an undulating darkness was held at bay by the kaleidoscope of surrounding light.
Remove the light, she thought. And there will be only darkness.
Lilith closed her eyes and gritted her teeth as she inhaled a constant and impossibly long breath. Energy from the floating spirit of Simon syphoned into her mouth in a flowing stream, fueling her with its essence. She writhed and screamed, the frenzied euphoria of the feed driving her to the brink of unconsciousness as she devoured part of the man's soul.
As the light diminished, the dark core expanded.
She dared not consume it all. Control. Restraint. All must be set in order first.
Carefully, Lilith lowered her hands, satisfied for the time being. The spiritual form of Simon slowly returned to his body, his soul sealing itself once more in its corporeal vessel.
His closed eyelids fluttered, the life inside restored to his unconscious body.
"You will remember nothing. Sleep, my dear. It will be soon."
The statuesque blonde stood and adjusted her tight-fitting dress suit while she gauged her reflection, admiring this new body in a glass-framed portrait of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
She had much to prepare for.
Excerpted from The Salvation of Gabriel Adam by S. L. Duncan. Copyright © 2015 S. L. Duncan. Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc..
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